Saturday, November 23, 2013

Down Under - Day 13

This morning we woke up and headed for breakfast at Fidel's. I had homemade muslei with yogurt, bananas and honey and an iced latte. It's cute and funky but I couldn't capture it well enough in a photo to share. Afterwards, we wandered around the streets and did a little shopping.
For lunch, we went to the Nikau Gallery Cafe (which is inside a museum, in case you're ever looking for it). We made it with 5 minutes until the kitchen closed and I am glad we did. Pictured above is the panfried halloumi (cheese), lemon and grilled bread along with the grilled asparagus with mint. It was so yummy with my sparkling, old fashioned lemonade!
For the rest of the afternoon we explored the city and relaxed in our hotel. We decided to spend our evening learning about and watching our first cricket match at Westpac Stadium. We walked over and someone gave us free tickets at the gate. When we walked inside, we understood why - there was hardly anyone there. (The photo above was taken halfway through the game.) It was a nice night to enjoy the match. We started to get hungry and left a little after the second team's "at bat" but we were glad we went.
After the game we enjoyed a delicious margarita pizza at Pizzeria Napoli and enjoyed a nightcap at the Library Bar, which was cozy and had delicious drinks and cheeses (they also have desserts but we had some tiramisu after our pizza already).

I like to include links to places I've gone in case you ever want to go to any of them. Along with that, I thought I might share some things I've learned along the way in case you ever venture down under too (in no particular order):
  • People drive crazy fast and don’t always stay on their side of the road (most roads are two-lane)
  • Unless you plan on traveling all over, you could get by without a car, as most cities are very walkable and have bus systems
  • The sun is intense (I thought we would be fine, but sunburns are easily had)
  • They love Christmas (we saw banners for Christmas parades happening in mid-November, I guess without the Thanksgiving buffer, we’d be the same way)
  • Soda is expensive (a one-serving bottle at a gas station is like $4)
  • Women, I think they use the UK sizing system (where you subtract 4 from the size to get your US size, but things seemed to run a little small across the board so maybe subtract 6 instead)
  • Great restaurants, in multiple cities, run on a Tuesday-Saturday schedule (read "no yummy vittles served on Sunday/Monday," sad face)
  • Anything goes, clothing-wise (I like looking good but it’s not always practical when traveling; we have shown up lots of “nice” places looking a little ragged after a hike and no one seems to mind)
  • I’ve also witnessed quite a few barefooted people inside buildings and stores, this also seems fine with everyone (but gross to me)
  • People are really laid back and nice (the only snootiness I experienced was at the Nespresso store in Auckland, I saw another one in Wellington but I didn't go in)
  • Peanut butter can be purchased in the grocery store but I have yet to see it flavoring anything - candy, desserts, etc. - I love peanut butter!
  • While it is rather expensive to travel here (at least from the US), you can easily stick to a fixed budget for lodging, meals and entertainment 
  • Tipping isn't mandatory (which feels weird), but the good thing is if you still wish to tip, people are stoked about it
  • Unless you are at home (or in your hotel room) there is no brewed coffee option - it's all espresso beverages (which is fine by me!)

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